Who Is the Dallas Stars’ Biggest Rival, Right Now?
(And why it might not necessarily be Nashville)
I will defeat you
Yeah, I know I’m gonna beat you
I’ve waited too damn long for my time to shine
I’m gonna take the world by storm
Yeah, I’m elite and you’re forlorn
A reliable axiom about sports rivalries is the Lobster market price rule: if you have to ask what it is, you probably won’t be having one any time soon.
The Stars are in this weird space, right now, of having multiple candidates for good reasons, but no clear winner. At least, I don’t think they have one.
If you were to ask me who the best candidate is for a Dallas Stars Rival right now, I’d probably say one specific team, but I wouldn’t say it dogmatically. There are multiple candidates, which we will be reviewing right now. However, you—yes, you!—might have a different (i.e. “wrong”) opinion than me, and I would encourage you to humiliate yourself by elucidating all such opinions in the comment section, as usual. I will definitely read it and consider your surely lucid points with all the respect they deserve.
Okay, let’s do this thing. Also, there’s a poll at the bottom, so you can vote or whatever if you’re into that.
Honorable Mention: Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks
Look, nobody’s denying the history with these teams. The Stars and Ducks had a great 12-year span or so with some really fun playoff series. But the Ducks’ main rival is, obviously, the Kings. And since the Ducks aren’t good and haven’t been for a bit—and since the Stars aren’t in the Pacific any more—this just isn’t gonna make the cut.
It was a blast back in the day, though. Ducks fans hated the Stars, and going to games at Honda Center as a visiting fan was one of the most maddening-yet-thrilling experiences I’ve had as a fan.
Likewise the Oilers and Red Wings, both of whom qualified much better in decades past than they do now. Great playoff matchups back in the day, but the Red Wings don’t think about the Stars more than twice a year (and maybe not even that much, given the other problems they have up there). The Oilers are annoying and dumb and poorly run, but those are just general reasons to feel superior, not rivalry fodder. The Battle of Alberta is the real rivalry up there.
The Blackhawks are a more interesting case, but not enough to make our final four. Not only do they lack the whole “recent playoff history” element with Dallas, but they also look primed to get worse before they get better. Unless they and Dallas find themselves fighting each other to escape the Central Cellar or something, I think it’s fair to categorize Chicago as the Boston of the West: a loathsome team with some particularly insufferable fans, but one who has had bigger fish to fry than Dallas has brought to the table.
Finally, one has to consider Vancouver as a sweet beat, even if their lack of divisional proximity was always going to keep them from the podium. The history with Vancouver native Tom Gaglardi is well-known, but the Stars have pretty well handled the Canucks since the Aquilini vs. Gaglardi drama got started. In any case, Vancouver will surely strike up a rivalry with Seattle in the next year or two, leaving the Stars’ heartbreaking series back in 2007 as an interesting highlight in an otherwise unfriendly-third-cousin sort of relationship.
Okay, onto the real finalists:
Candidate #1: Colorado Avalanche
The Avs hold the ignominious position of being both a past Stars rival and a potential one today. As one of the big four teams that dominated the NHL from 1995-2003, the Avs earned a place as Stars rivals early and often, culminating in the back-to-back Western Conference Final victories by Dallas in seven games over Patrick Roy.
However, the Avs would get their revenge in 2004 and 2006, knocking the Stars out of the opening round with resounding 4-1 series wins in both seasons. (The 2006 defeat was particularly humbling, as the Stars were a #2 seed facing the #7 Avs.)
The Avs also lost their biggest historical rival when the Red Wings fled to the Eastern Conference. And, with their own dearth of playoff success until recently, the Avs have had to settle for some mild resentment towards the Sharks for a few playoff eliminations over the past 20 or so years.
Nowadays, the Avalanche look to be on the rise just as the Stars have been looking for ways to prop open their playoff window in the back nine of the Benn and Seguin era. This should, in theory, mean some real fireworks on the horizon. If the Cartoonland Playoffs actually happen this year, such a relationship could materialize as soon as this summer.
Candidate #2: Minnesota Wild
If you think the Wild are insufferable right now, imagine what would have happened if that accidental Jason Demers clearance-at-the-wrong-net had gone in to choke away a four-goal third-period lead in 2016. If the Wild had pushed the Stars to a game seven and stolen that series, I’m pretty sure Minnesota would have demanded the Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup Banner as well as the life rights to all images of Mike Modano and his descendants.
As it stands, Minnesota just has a nice, adorable, festering resentment of Dallas for, near as I can tell, having the gall to support a hockey team that was brought to their city. Is it sensible, even in sports-fan terms? Look, there’s a reason Fargo was based in that state, is all I’m saying.
This is the team that eagerly snatched up Greg Pateryn and Mats Zuccarello in order to (some speculation by me here) ask them for the exact measurements of the Stars’ locker room in order to make sure Xcel Energy Center’s were at least 5% larger. A hefty price for odd bragging rights, but we will do for love what we’d never do for money.
Anyway, there’s definitely some satisfaction in reminding the Wild of all the ways in which their organization is a joke, and you can bet that fanbase would love nothing more than to knock the Stars out of the playoffs someday. If these teams meet in the playoffs again, I suspect the embers of this conflict would be fanned into full-on fratricidal rage.
Candidate #3: Nashville Predators
This is probably the candidate I think of the most when you ask about a current rival for Dallas. The Winter Classic is certainly a great example of this, demonstrating the ease with which two Southern Markets (and we mean “Southern” culturally as well as geographically) can recognize enough similarities about each other to stoke a passionate competition for dominance.
These are, in a very particular sense, the only truly “Southern” teams in the league right now (given that, as we all know, Florida is a culture unto itself). Nashville is, like Minnesota, a bit of a newcomer relative to Dallas, but they have a recent Cup Final under their belt, and the Predators have done a great job in their market. There is a very real “feel” to that fanbase that you can get just from chatting with some of the visitors at the Winter Classic, let alone by visiting Nashville itself.
Even the playoff series last year (last decade???) felt more “fun and thrilling” and less “I want to burn this down to the ground”-y. Maybe that’s because of that seminal Klingberg overtime winner, but I like to think it’s because Nashville just has a tiny bit of chill about itself.
Come to think of it, maybe I just find Nashville the least bothersome of these cities, and I’m subconsciously hoping they end up as a preeminent rival so I won’t have to spend as much time around fans from the other three cities. After all, as if Minnesota and Colorado weren’t Extra enough, do I even need to talk about
Candidate #4: St. Louis Blues
Did you know the Blues (by about 20 miles or so over Nashville) are the Stars’ closest geographical neighbor? So, yeah—that’s what that smell is that you’ve been wondering about.
It’s not only that St. Louis has terrible taste in barbecue, music, and baseball teams; above all these sins, the one unforgivable act is how they somehow managed to ruin PIZZA. I mean, Cracker-thin crust? Honestly, I can’t say I’m surprised that their most famous monument is a giant gateway encouraging people to leave. Some surprising self-awareness, that.
(Also, I am told they recently played the Stars in the postseason once or twice, although I can’t recall how those particular series played out. Probably the Stars won, since the Blues are basically just a giant series of cardboard cutouts of David Backes, David Perron, and like eight other games named Dave or Ty.)
And hey, here’s a fun game: can you tell David Backes apart from David Perron? Well, probably you can now, since they’re not on the same team anymore. But I mean, in your head, do you know what either of them look like? Of course you don’t, because they’re just a couple of St. Louis Daves, and always will be. Patrick Maroon was just two guys named Dave stuffed into one giant sweater, but the NHL turned a blind eye to it because they get a giant government subsidy for the production of David Moments. Don’t believe me? Have you heard of a little place called, ahem: CAMP DAVID? Well, that’s yet another debate handily won, by me.
That’s okay, though: you can win another competition, which I like to call The Voting Competition! Here is how you play: you click a thing down here. Okay, well, bye.
Who is the Dallas Stars’ biggest rival right now?
|St. Louis Blues||278|